Cokeville Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
Wetlands at Cokeville Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
Cokeville Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is an 8,106-acre property stretched out along about 20 miles of the Bear River. This is probably the finest migratory bird sanctuary in Wyoming. Problem is: the property is brand new and not all of it is owned by the Federal Government yet. The acquisition boundary of the proposed Cokeville Meadows NWR includes a total of 25,657 acres.
Cokeville Meadows is a vast wetlands area that is just barely getting developed and there are still no visitor facilities in place. That said, there is an overlook adjacent to US Highway 30 about 10 miles south of Cokeville.
Wetlands are at a premium in dry Wyoming and Audubon Wyoming has declared the Cokeville Meadows to be an Important Bird Area. 32 species of birds nest here, including white-faced ibis, sandhill cranes, black-necked stilts, black terns, American bitterns and a variety of shorebirds, songbirds and waterfowl. Upland areas on the property are home to greater sage grouse, elk, mule deer, bobcat, coyote and other small mammals.
Cokeville Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is administered as part of the Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The refuge was established in 1993 but land acquisition hasn't moved forward as quickly as once imagined.
A Wilson's Phalarope at Cokeville Meadows
Map courtesy of the US Fish & Wildlife Service